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Resort Sports inflates fun for Rec Center campers

By Staff | Aug 4, 2010

In the decisive moment of their bout, Lou Vaughn, left, loses his balance against Charles De Vaublanc.

At the Sanibel Recreation Center, one of the most popular features which comes to the island throughout the summer is Resort Sports’ fun and inflatable activities. Whether it’s their bouncy Wild Splash Slide or their gigantic Climbing Wall, kids enrolled in the Summer Camp program look forward to each visit probably more than any other.

Last week, as Resort Sports brought their Pedestal Jousting stage to the Rec’s gymnasium, campers lined up around the huge rectangular "pillow," as the red and yellow striped feature game of the day invited youngsters to climb atop to raised platforms, defend themselves and battle their "opponents" with huge, double-cushioned jousting batons.

"It doesn’t hurt at all when you get hit," explained Christina Rein, fresh off a victory against friend Elsa Peterson. "I wish we got to do jousting every week."

Hearing that kind of feedback is precisely why Debbie Regnone, owner of Resort Sports, decided to branch out into the private sector following a long career in Recreation Management. The Cleveland, Ohio native launched the business back in 1986 after spending time working as the Superintendent of Recreation for the City of Fort Myers and as the first Recreation Director at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva.

"We are a full service recreation management company," said Regnone. "We do a lot of parties, picnics and promotional activities is the best way to describe what we offer."

Rec Center camp counselor Billy Lees, left, prepares to joust with Summer Camp program participant Dean Drobnyk.

In addition to providing inflatable activities at recreational facilities throughout Southwest Florida, Resort Sports provides recreation services, team building, theme parties, mixers and minglers. Their client list includes Hilton Grand Vacations, Pepsi, La Playa Beach Resort, Flex Bon Paints and The Walt Disney Company.

"I’m a dyed-in-the-wool recreation director… I just love working with kids," Regnone added. "Because of the nature of running a business, I don’t get out there very often. But in the last two years, I’ve done more in the field than I did in the previous 10 years. It’s great reconnecting with our clients. It feels more personal."

On Friday, as the campers eagerly raised their hands waiting for their names to be selected to take part in the next jousting competition, Regnone marveled at the Sanibel Recreation Center itself, which she had never visited before.

"A facility like this makes me long for my days as a recreation director," she said. "The island is truly blessed to have something like this."

At that point, another joust ended, with Giovanni Marquez defeating "foe" Liam Deal. Marquez smiled broadly when asked about the competition.

Christina Rein, left, and Elsa Peterson, right, receive instructions from Resort Sports owner Debbie Regnone before their battle began.

"I had never done that before," he noted. "I was trying to hit (Liam’s) legs to make him fall down. I fell once… I got tipped over to one side and then I just lost my balance."

But when you’re a kid, standing on a raised platform above an inflated stage, falling down is half the fun.

For more information about Resort Sports, call 239-936-0233.


Liam Deal, left, and Giovanni Marquez battle for jousting supremacy.